Britain announces take off of comprehensive net zero aviation plans

The UK has today published an action plan for the next two years in the race to reach Jet Zero by 2050, as the Government continues with ambitious plans to decarbonise faster than any other G7 country, grow the economy, and support hundreds of thousands of well-paid green jobs.

The Jet Zero Council, made up of industry, academic and government leaders, are meeting today at Farnborough Airport. Through its Two-Year Plan, the Council committed to continue working to speed up the design, manufacture, and rollout of zero emission aircraft and vital infrastructure at UK airports.

The plan sets out how the Council will help to accelerate the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), by continuing to invest millions of pounds in first-of-a-kind SAF plants, supporting crucial scientific research on a larger scale, and helping to drive down production costs.

Farnborough Airport also played host to the Sustainable Skies World Summit today, which gathers experts and leaders from the worlds of aviation, government, energy, and engineering. UK transport secretary Mark Harper delivered the global Summit’s keynote speech, where he stressed the importance of the partnership between government, industry and academia in the international challenge to reaching Jet Zero.

The Government has also welcomed the report ‘Developing a UK SAF industry’ by Philip New, former CEO of the Energy Systems Catapult and BP Alternative Energy. The independent evaluation – commissioned by the Department for Transport – assesses what conditions are necessary to create a successful UK SAF industry.

Harper said: “This Government is a determined partner to the aviation industry – helping accelerate new technology and fuels, modernise their operations, and work internationally to remove barriers to progress.

“Together, we can set aviation up for success, continue harnessing its huge social and economic benefits, and ensure it remains a core part of the UK’s sustainable economic future.”

Emma Gilthorpe, Jet Zero Council CEO, added: “It’s fantastic for the Jet Zero Council to be meeting today at Sustainable Skies, maintaining the momentum built by government and industry on our vital journey to decarbonising aviation.

“The Two-Year Plan published today, building on recent government commitments to secure demand for SAF in the UK, will ensure we continue to accelerate progress and achieve the Jet Zero Council’s objectives of delivering 10% SAF in the UK fuel mix by 2030 and zero emission transatlantic flight within a generation.”

The Philip New report sets out a number of recommendations to help stimulate SAF production in the UK.

The Government response to the report details the extensive work that is already underway to meet many of the recommendations, whilst highlighting what additional action could be taken to drive further investment in UK SAF production.

The Department of Transport described the UK’s Sustainable Aviation Fuels programme is one of the most comprehensive in the world. The Jet Zero Strategy sets out how we can achieve net zero emissions from UK aviation by 2050, without directly limiting demand for aviation, and the £165 million Advanced Fuel Fund is also kickstarting production, with five projects already chosen to receive funding.

Turning to potential barriers to investment, the Government said it recognises that many investors are looking for longer-term revenue certainty that the SAF mandate will not provide.

It is therefore committing to work with the aviation industry on the best ways to decarbonise, including options for additional revenue certainty for a UK SAF industry.

Secretary of state for Energy Security and Net Zero Grant Shapps said: “Having launched the Jet Zero Strategy last summer, I am thrilled to now support the launch of today’s new two-year action plan to future-proof the aviation industry and accelerate the delivery of new green jobs.

“Boosting investment in sustainable aviation fuels is at the heart of these plans today, marking a landmark step in spearheading the technologies that will keep passengers flying guilt-free.”

Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani added: “There is no time to waste in creating a sustainable, decarbonised aviation sector fit for the future. By working in partnership with industry, we are determined to accelerate the development of innovative zero emission technology and secure the long-term success of our vital UK manufacturing sector and its global exports.”